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Dec 18 / The Architect

My guide to Citrix Summit Las Vegas

LasVegas

Registration tips

  • Keep a note of your registration confirmation code. You’ll need this repeatedly to log into the website and the mobile app to book your labs and build your agenda. Rather annoyingly, the site doesn’t allow you to choose your own password.
  • If you are the type to enter booth competitions but don’t want to be deluged with marketing email, register using a throw-away email address that you can dispose off post-conference. Be careful though, this will mean that you won’t automatically qualify for alumni status for future years as they use your email address as proof of previous attendance. If you are a GMail user, a handy tip is to add a “+summit” to the part before the @  this will still reach you, but will be treated as a different email address and one which you can create a “discard” rule against after the conference.
  • If you can’t expense your accommodation (or you are the one paying the expense bill) then avoid the expensive Conference hotels.

What to wear?

  • Check the weather forecast and pack appropriately. Whilst Vegas is in the middle of a dessert and temperatures reach 14 degrees during the day even in January, nights are chilly if you are venturing out onto the strip.
  • Whilst it’s tempting to just bring t-shirts and shorts, casinos, conference venues and break-out rooms often crank up the air-con so can be chilly if sitting for several hours doing a lab.
  • Conference attire is business casual (khakis, polo shirts, etc.)
  • If your hotel has a pool, bring your trunks or speedos (no mankini’s please)

What to pack?

  •  If you’re booked on a learning lab you’ll need a laptop and VGA adaptor if it’s DisplayLink/HDMI only
  • Phone/laptop/iPad chargers
  • US travel adaptors for said chargers/laptops
  • If you’re taking one of the free exams, any study material you might need
  • If you are from the EU remember you’ll need an ESTA completed in advance of your departure
  • Business cards for networking opportunities
  • Passport!
  • If you’re a fan of freebies, remember to leave space in your luggage for both your conference bag and the variety of bugs, pens, stressballs and t-shirts you’ll no doubt return with! (or designer goods for your other half)
  • The conference halls are large, and you’ll spend a fair amount of time on your feet. Pack comfortable shoes.

Before you leave

  • Set your work out-of-office email and voice-mail messages
  • Arrange your airport/hotel transfer. I avoid expensive taxi’s and pre-book shared shuttle services.
  • If you do take a taxi from the airport, be aware of the common long-haul taxi scam. A taxi should be around $22.50 if they take the most direct route via Las Vegas Blvd.
  • Book your instructor-led learning lab. You can pre-book two of these. You can attend more, but need to wait in a standby line at least 15 minutes before the scheduled start time.
  • Book your free exam
  • Download the Summit/Synergy mobile apps and download the Vegas area in Google maps whilst on WiFi to avoid expensive roaming data charges whilst you search for your hotel
  • Speak to your mobile operator to ensure international roaming is enabled for your number. This is very hard to do once abroad when your phone doesn’t work after getting off the plane!
  • Speak to your bank and/or credit card company and let them know you’re travelling so your card doesn’t get blocked for suspected fraud
  • Check into your flight online to get a better seat and give yourself more time at the airport

During the conference

Keep safe

  •  Like any town Vegas has its good and bad areas. Ensure you’re not walking around alone at night, especially if under the influence of alcohol.
  • Remember: the girl who turns up in your room never looks anything like the one on the card you were given ;)

Keep connected

  • If you’re coming from outside of the US and want to avoid expensive data roaming charges, purchase a Net10 SIM from a WalMart or a local phone shop. For around $40 dollars you can get an Net10 SIM card and 30 days of pre-paid data that will give you 1Gb of 4G data (then unlimited 3G data/voice/sms after you’ve used your quota).
  • Hook yourself up to the venue WiFi when around the conference centre
  • Use any free WiFi provided in your hotel (many charge for in-room WiFi, but provide free WiFi in the lobby)
  • Take quiet moments to Skype the family. Even a 5 minute call will bring a smile to a loved one.

Learn like crazy

There’s loads of opportunity to expand your knowledge during conference.

Don’t be shy

  • There are load of networking opportunities to get to know some new peers. Follow the #CitrixSummit hashtag if you’re a twitter user to keep abreast of discussions (although tweet volumes to this will explode once conference starts)
  • Sign-up to twitter if you’re not a user, even if you don’t plan to use it after the conference. Perhaps follow me during the conference?

Have fun

Whilst Summit is a great opportunity for learning, there’s also plenty of ways to let your hear down. There’s the official  Welcome reception on Tuesday and the Appreciation Party on Wednesday. Hang out in the Summit Park to relax your mind and body between those intense labs or exams.

There will no doubt be various vendor events interspersed during the week – I’ll post details here when I hear about them. Remember to keep yourself hydrated before collapsing into bed after partying to avoid the massive hangover the next day.

You can also try and score some points on the Summit Game inside the mobile app. I came third the first year, and it really does try and ensure you make the most of your time at Summit (although is very time consuming too!)

Vendor parties/events

 

Hung over in your hotel?

Don’t miss out – selected sessions are streamed over the internet. Enjoy Summit from the comfort of your hotel room!

Win

Vendors often have booth competitions to draw in the crowds. If you don’t mind being spammed to death post-conference you can drop your business card in, or get your badge scanned, to enter.
I’ll post details of the competitions I uncover here during the conference.
Oct 18 / The Architect

Stuff for sale

Being a teccie, I tend to accumulate lots of kit which invariably sits around gathering dust, so every so often I have a clear-out, and this is it!

HP ProLiant Microservers x 2 (new)

These are brand new, in sealed boxes from an aborted project. Make ideal small home lab servers. The will run ESXi, XenServer or HyperV. I use one to run my home automation system.

  • HP Proliant N36L MicroServer 1P (HP part number 633724-421)
  • Form Factor: MicroServer
  • Processor: AMD Athlon II Model NEO N36L (2 Core, 1.30GHz 1MB L2, 15W)
  • L2 Cache: 2MB L2
  • Memory: 1024MB PC3-10600E UDIMMs DDR3
  • Memory Slots: 2 DIMM Slots
  • Maximum Internal Memory: 8GB
  • Number of Hard Drives Supported: (4)LFF SATA; non-hot plug
  • Hard Disk Controller: Integrated 4 Port SATA RAID
  • Standard Srorage Connection: Non-hot plug 3.5 Inch SATA
  • Optical Drive: None
  • Operating System: None
  • Networking: (1) 1GbE NC107i 1 Port
  • £99 ONO for collection or can post for £9.60 to most UK addresses.

Dell Intel dual port PCI Gigabit NIC  (new x 2)

  • Part number 01P8D1
  • £20ONO

 Crucial 2Gb DDR3 PC3-8500 Unbuffered ECC RAM modules (new x 8)

  • Part number CT25672BA1067
  • Form Factor: UDIMM
  • Module Size: 2GB
  • Warranty: Limited Lifetime
  • Specs: DDR3 PC3-8500 • CL=7 • Unbuffered • ECC • DDR3-1066 • 1.5V • 256Meg x 72
  • Suitable for use in the HP MicroServers above.
  • £19 ONO

 

More stuff to be added soon. Contact me if you are interested in any of the above.

Sep 30 / The Architect

XenApp 7.6 first look – part one: upgrading from 7.5

Citrix released the new version of XenApp and XenDesktop 7.6 on September 30th. It’s very much a point release, introducing some features that got removed from the architecture change from IMA in 6.5 to FMA in 7/7.5.

The full list of what’s new can be found on eDocs.

My top three feature picks

read more…

Sep 16 / The Architect

How to save money on Citrix Summit Las Vegas hotels

Working as an independent consultant I find attending conferences can be rewarding but costly, especially when factoring in the unpaid leave one needs to take. I’m always looking to avoid paying over the odds for hotel rooms and flights, so here’s a few ways to save money on Citrix Summit hotels.

read more…

Apr 25 / The Architect

First look: XenApp and XenDesktop 7.5 – part seven (HA & load balancing changes)

This is part seven of a series looking at XenApp 7.5 & 7.6.

Part one – What’s new, and installation
Part two – Configuring the first site
Part three – Preparing my XenApp template image
Part Four – Creating the machine catalog to give me a hosting platform
Part five – Creating the delivery group to publish apps and desktops to user
Part six – new policy filtering options available

For those familiar with the way Load Balancing works in XenApp 6.5, the changes in 7.5 are quite radical.

Gone are the load balancing policies one is used to. Also gone are the worker groups that we used to silo servers, for both application and server grouping, and to perform server fail-over between sites. Gone is the ability to have single global farms, and use zones to segregate our servers into data-centre sized groups with the ability to fail over one region to another.

Some of the topics raised in this post form part of a talk I’m giving at GeekSpeak Tonight at Synergy LA. If you’re a follower of the blog or follow me on twitter do stop and say hi!

Everything has changed. And not all in a good way. Let’s dig deeper

read more…

Apr 10 / The Architect

First look: XenApp and XenDesktop 7.5 – part six (new policy filtering options)

This is part six of a series looking at XenApp 7.5.

Part one – What’s new, and installation
Part two – Configuring the first site
Part three – Preparing my XenApp template image
Part Four – Creating the machine catalog to give me a hosting platform
Part five – Creating the delivery group to publish apps and desktops to user
This part – new policy filtering options available
In Part seven I examine some of the load balancing and fail-over changes

If you are familiar with XenApp 6.x policy framework, you’ll probably be applying (or filtering as Citrix calls it) computer policies to either individual servers, worker groups, or Active Directory OUs. XenApp 7.5 has done away with the concept of worker groups, but there are several new ways of applying/filtering XenApp policies that provide even more granularity over worker groups.

read more…

Apr 6 / The Architect

I’m helping Build Croydon at London Technology Week

I’m pleased to support the Lives not Knives charity in their Build Croydon event on June 16th, part of London Technology Week.

I’ll be repeating a talk I gave recently to Old Palace Whiftgift school careers fair on working in the IT field, about the kind of work I do as a Cloud Infrastructure Architect, my journey through education and university, and some of the pro and cons of working as an IT consultant.

Exact timings have yet to be announced, but you can register for the event here.

Apr 2 / The Architect

First look: XenApp and XenDesktop 7.5 – part five (creating the delivery group)

This is part five of a series looking at XenApp 7.5.

Part one – What’s new, and installation
Part two – Configuring the first site
Part three – Preparing my XenApp template image
Part Four – Creating the machine catalog to give me a hosting platform
This part – Creating the delivery group to publish apps and desktops to user
In Part six I examine some new policy filtering options
In Part seven I examine some of the load balancing and fail-over changes

So we now have our hosting servers provisioned via our machine catalog. We now need to assign which applications get published to which users. Those familiar with the XenApp 6.x publishing wizard should find this step very straightforward, and the XenApp 7.5 version adds the ability to publish many applications simultaneously.

read more…

Apr 1 / The Architect

Citrix announce revamp of the CTP program

C

Since it’s formation in 2006, the Citrix Technology Professionals (CTP) program has steadily been growing in strength and popularity, but has recently reach a plateau in terms of membership and quality, with many claiming “it’s all gone a bit downhill since Brian left

Commenting on the changes, Perrine “fine wine” Crampton, head of the Community Cat-herding Programs at Citrix:

“The CTPs have been running amok for way to long. Whilst we encourage CTPs to blog and tweet about their experiences with Citrix technologies, we’re seeing far to much negativity and brutally honest criticism about Citrix’ poor code quality and bad marketing decisions. As Citrix Marketing fund the CTP program in it’s entirety, it’s their way or the highway I’m afraid, and it’s this new mantra which forms the basis of the changes we’re announcing today.

  • From now on, new and existing CTP’s will need to follow our CMO‘s lead, and delete their twitter accounts and reduce their Facebook usage to only posting inspirational photos, memes and pictures of their kids/cats.
  • Early access to code releases will cease to avoid the flood of bug reports that traditionally happen around the time of new product releases that just distract the engineers and developers from Flappy Birds and the code shipping parties.
  • Participation at company events such as GeekSpeak and Citrix Synergy will only be possible having signed an NDA prior to the event, and agreeing not to actually speak to anyone important or impressionable (especially customers) for the duration of the conference.
  • The bi-annual CTP meetings where members get the opportunity to grill product managers on their plans for the forthcoming roadmap’s will be replaced by an on-line voting system where CTPs can vote on their top feature they would like to see implemented (bearing in mind that many product teams can only deliver one feature in each release)
  • The current selection process based on community contribution is flawed. It gives a platform to people far too opinionated and influential which could result in Citrix being seen in a poor light. New criteria already in place ensures all those selected will look great on Citrix.tv when interviewed, and carry around at least four devices capable of running Receiver at all times, just in case they get stopped in the street and challenged on their allegiance to Citrix.
  • The CTP program will take on a new corporate sponsor: Atlantis Computing.  Becoming a CTP will now mean automatic enrolment onto the Atlantis payroll.

Those interested in applying to the CTP program may apply themselves or pay someone influential to nominate them. The number of existing CTPs you “have in the bag” will have no influence on your chances of being accepted into the program.

In other news, the  CTO Office have announce the replacement of Brad Anderson as Chief Demo Officer having realised they have a far better qualified person who’s been quietly hiding amongst their board of directors for the past decade and now needs to realise the investment they’ve made in him.

 

Apr 1 / The Architect

First look: XenApp and XenDesktop 7.5 – part four (creating the machine catalog)

Part one – What’s new, and installation
Part two – Configuring the first site
Part three – Preparing my XenApp template image
This part- Creating the machine catalog to give me a hosting platform
Part five – Creating the delivery group to publish apps and desktops to user

In Part six I examine some new policy filtering options
In Part seven I examine some of the load balancing and fail-over changes

Now that we have a master image prepared containing the VDA and our applications, we can now use this as the basis for our first machine catalog to give us a hosting platform to start delivering applications (and server-hosted desktops) to users

 

read more…

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